This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Overview

Guyana’s vast tracts of productive land present enormous opportunities for growth.  Agriculture is one of the most important productive sectors of Guyana’s economy.  Agriculture accounts for approximately one-third of Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 30 percent of the country’s employment.  However, in recent years, the sector has been affected by volatility in international commodity prices, declining productivity and restructuring of the local sugar industry and extreme weather events, which have contributed to a challenging environment for agricultural sector development.  

Although Guyana’s mature sugar and rice industries will continue to play an important role in Guyana’s economy, the non-traditional agriculture sector is beginning to show high growth potential.  For example, agro-processing exports (i.e., prepared food and molasses) have doubled within the last five years.  There was also an increase of exports in the prepared foods market (i.e., jams and jellies, coconut milk, spices, pasta, etc.).  With investments in production, facilities, quality assurance, and processing, non-traditional agriculture could become an engine of export growth.

Guyana has the ideal conditions for a dynamic seafood and fisheries industry.  These include a 459 km Atlantic coastal area and an extensive network of rivers.  The United States is the primary market for most seafood exports.  In 2004, Guyana was certified to export seafood to the lucrative EU market, creating a range of new market opportunities.  While the seafood industry primarily consists of marine species caught in Guyana’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), aquaculture has recently attracted significant investment growth.


Guyana enjoys vast fishery resources in the Atlantic Ocean, both in its coastal areas and its EEZ, about 138,240 square kilometers, the equivalent to 64 percent of the country’s landmass.  This area contains highly productive marine fisheries that include prawns (Penaeuslatisculcatus), shrimp (Penaeuslitopenaeusschmitti), seabob shrimp and a variety of commercial finfish.  Although some segments of the marine sector (e.g., prawns, shrimp, and seabob shrimp) are relatively consolidated and face uncertain sustainability (in terms of volume of catch), a number of lucrative opportunities exist, particularly in terms of adding value to existing resources. While Guyana’s marine resources have been an important component of its economy for some time, commercial aquaculture, especially in regard to tilapia and shrimp farming, is an emerging industry receiving the attention of both the government and private investors.
 

 

2015

2016

2017

2018 (Provisional)

Total Exports

411.8

380.4

392.4

348.6

Total Imports

262.6

263.2

262.8

271.2

Exchange Rates

208.50

208.50

208.50

208.50

(total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)

Sub-Sector Best Prospects
-Large scale commercial cultivation of horticultural crops, fruits, and vegetables.
-Value-added processing.
- Aquaculture.

Opportunities

Traditional Agriculture Sector

Sugar – Although the sector is mature, some opportunities still exist in processing the raw product into crystallized sugar and brown sugar, which Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco), a state-owned enterprise reports to be underserved throughout the CARICOM region.  Opportunities also exist for the by-products of sugar-based products, such as ethanol.

Rice – Opportunities exist to improve productivity by upgrading milling facilities for export so they can manufacture value-added rice products, such as breakfast cereal and quick cooking rice.

Non-Traditional Agriculture Sector

Fresh Fruits – International demand for fresh fruit is growing.  Market potential exists for citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and limes, as well as exotic fruits, such as mangoes, sapodillas, papayas, pineapples, and passion fruit.  However, exporters must be able to establish modern post-harvest handling and quality systems to prevent spoilage in transit and must meet international sanitary and phytosanitary controls.  Additional value can be achieved by shipping selected fruits to destination markets by air, thereby ensuring maximum freshness.  In addition to the export industry, opportunities exist for fruit farmers to supply the tourism industry, as well as the expanding agro-processing industry, in Guyana and the Caribbean.

Fresh Vegetables – Export opportunities exist for a range of vegetables, such as cucumber, pumpkin, watermelon, melon, seim (similar to green romano beans), bora (similar to string beans), and callaloo within the Caribbean and North American markets.  However, Guyana's ability to supply international markets is currently hampered by the time required to transport its products to market.  An increase in airlift capacity, especially climate controlled, would create enormous export opportunities for this sector.  In addition to fresh produce, current opportunities exist to supply Guyanese or Caribbean food processors with raw inputs.

Plantains, Roots, and Tubers – There is potential to increase Guyana’s exports of selected plantain, roots, and tubers to ethnic markets in the Caribbean, North America, and Europe.  Opportunities also exist for malanga, breadfruit, and ground provisions as raw inputs in the snack food industry.

Organic Products – As noted above, Guyana has large tracts of land free of agricultural chemicals, providing a unique opportunity to meet a growing demand for organic products in North America and Europe.  In most cases, organic products receive a premium price compared to their conventional counterparts.  Organic cocoa, pineapple, and heart of palm are already being grown for export.  Organic products could also find a welcome market within Guyana and throughout the Caribbean among hotels and restaurants that serve discriminating tourists. 

Herbs and Spices – There is growing demand in the Caribbean, North America, and Europe for hot peppers, shallots, cilantro, and other ingredients for seasoning, all of which grow abundantly in various parts of Guyana.

Livestock and Dairy Products – There are excellent investment opportunities for the production of meat (beef and mutton), poultry products, milk, and milk products for both domestic consumption and export to the Caribbean.  In particular, Guyana’s savannahs provide a favorable environment for medium to large-scale cattle-raising, which decades ago was popular.  Guyana has been certified as foot-and-mouth disease free, providing it with favorable access to many markets. 

Processed Foods – Opportunities exist for processing or semi-processing produce and animal products.  Already, Guyana’s exotic and gourmet food products are in demand in Caribbean, North American, and European markets.  Products with a large growth potential include jams, jellies, sauces, processed spices, and fruit puree blends.

Agricultural Support Services – Since the non-traditional agricultural sector is still emerging, there is an ongoing need for investment in inputs, machinery, technology transfer and support services.  In particular, there are opportunities for air cargo service providers to expand flights for agricultural exports, as well as for investments in cold storage facilities, post-harvest handling, and packaging services.

Seafood and Aquaculture Sub-sectors


High Quality Fish – The price for high quality fish on the global market is generally increasing.  Investors able to establish or upgrade quality control systems can greatly enhance the value of seafood without increasing current catch volumes.

Under-exploited Species – Although some species are widely fished within 80 km of the coastline, a number of species further offshore are yet to be fished commercially.  These include pelagic and deepwater species, such as deep-water snapper, prawns, swordfish, and tuna.  Currently the seafood industry is not adequately equipped to exploit these species, meaning that lucrative opportunities exist for first movers.

Processing – Profitable opportunities exist for investments in modern processing machines and product development that meet the ongoing global demand for processed fish products. 

Development of By-products – The seabob shrimp industry produces significant quantities of waste that could be used as fishmeal for aquaculture, adding to the overall value of catches.

Higher Prices – In general, the world’s fisheries are experiencing a decline in ocean catches, a result of over-fishing.  At the same time, there is a growing demand for fish products, resulting in higher prices.  Buyers are in constant search of new sources of quality fish that are available year-round.  Aquaculture can meet that demand.

Lucrative Markets – There is a growing demand for farmed fish, such as tilapia, not only in the United States, where imports have grown dramatically in recent years, but also the E.U., which certified Guyana as an aquaculture supplier in 2004.  Key markets include fresh fillets going to the retail sector and frozen fillets going to the food service sector. 

Easily Adaptable Agriculture Infrastructure – The infrastructure (e.g., irrigation) developed for rice production can be easily adapted to serve commercial aquaculture, reducing the cost of the initial investment necessary to initiate operations.

Available Inputs – As noted above, the marine fishery sector produces significant amounts of by-product that can be used as inexpensive fishmeal to fish farms.

High Profitability – The experience of recent investors shows that income per acre of commercial aquaculture activities is considerably higher than other typical agricultural activities.  For example, the estimated profit per acre is nearly 30 times greater than that of rice. 

These factors provide a full range of opportunities for investors from fish farming to value-added downstream activities, such as processing and freezing for export.

Web Resources

Ministry of Agriculture:  http://agriculture.gov.gy/
Guyana Marketing Corporation: http://www.newgmc.com/

 

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Guyana Agribusiness Trade Development and Promotion